Saturday, 16 May 2009

ONGC to step up investment in non-conventional energy sources

Hyderabad, May 13 Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) is in the process of stepping up investments in the next two-three years to tap into the huge non-conventional energy sources, while focusing on extracting more out of new shallow and existing deepwater wells.

The Director (Exploration), ONGC, Dr D.K. Pande, told Business Line that the work on exploiting coal bed methane (CBM), gas hydrates and coal gasification, along with wind and solar energy sources, will see an initial investment of about Rs 500 crore.

“In fact, once we finalise a contract, we will be able to sell CBM,” Mr Pande said.

“The Rs 500-crore investment will cover solar energy and possibly uranium extraction. While the Jharia mines will produce CBM, the gas hydrates project is being taken up in partnership with IIT, Kharagpur,” he explained.

Asked if work on deepwater wells had slowed down, Dr Pande said: “Availability of rigs has been a major constraint. We expect to firm up rigs during the year and begin work in the deepwater wells of Cauvery basin, Krishna-Godavari basin, Andaman and in the Konkan region in Kerala. We expect to speed up work at Cambay and in Assam.” “Significantly, according to estimates, there is huge untapped potential in the shallow and marginal wells. While ensuring that the existing wells sustain their production, the focus will be on tapping into shallow water wells,” he said.

While the CBM production is likely to be about 5,000 cubic metres, the gas hydrates project will be operational within two years.

Work is also under way for the underground coal gasification project in Rajasthan wherein ONGC is spending up to Rs 100 crore. In partnership with Schlumberger in Dehradun, he said the project mandate covers shared gas.

Referring to the potential to tap solar and wind energy, Dr Pande said that the corporation is generating 15 MW at Mangalore and is working on a solar energy project.

Energy consumption
Earlier, delivering a lecture on Hydrocarbon Exploration Riding Technology Wave at the National Geophysical Research Institute, Dr Pande said that the energy consumption patterns are poised for major changes over the next three decades. Dr Pande said new 4D seismic surveys combined with visualisation facility will help expedite exploration work.

Source : BL

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